3rd Grade

Valerie Jorgensen

3rd Grade

E: valerie.jorgensen@dmschools.org


My name is Ms. Jorgensen.  I am excited to begin my eleventh year of teaching here at Hillis Elementary.  I grew up in on a farm in northern Iowa, and after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa, I moved to Houston, Texas where I taught for 9 years.  Last summer I decided to move back to Iowa to be closer to family, which has been wonderful!   When I am not at Hillis, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend (Terry), stepson (Alex), my 4-legged child (my dog, Loosey), and the rest of my family.  We enjoy spending time outdoors together, including going for walks and camping.  Some of my other favorite things include Starbucks coffee, thrift store shopping, Iowa Hawkeye football, and watching movies.  I am really looking forward to this school year!!!  GO HAWKS!!!

Colleges Attended:  Southeastern Community College, University of Iowa, University of St. Thomas Houston

Highest Degree Earned:  Master's of Education, Reading Specialist

Endorsements: Reading, Special Education

Years of Experience: Beginning my 12th year in education

Years at Hillis: This will be my 2nd year at Hillis

Original Hometown: Swaledale, IA

High School Attended: Rockwell-Swaledale High School

Mariah McKinnon

3rd Grade Teacher

E: mariah.mckinnon@dmschools.org


I attended Drake University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a reading endorsement. This is my first year of teaching and I am so happy I get to spend it at Hillis! I grew up in Oxford, IA which is a very small town outside of Iowa City.

Colleges Attended: Drake University

Highest Degree Earned:Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education

Endorsements:Reading Endorsement

Years of Experience: 1

Years at Hillis: First year!

Original Hometown: Oxford, Iowa

High School Attended: Clear Creek Amana

Abby Ortiz

3rd Grade

E: abigail.ortiz@dmschools.org


Hello! My name is Abby Ortiz and I teach 3rd grade here at Hillis. In my free time I enjoying spending time with my husband Tonio and our two boys, Benny (2.5 yrs) and Rico (3 months). We have 2 cats, Ginny and Betsy and hope to get a tortoise soon. In the summer, we spend a lot of time outside in the garden, going for walks, playing at the park and geocaching. In the winter, we like to watch basketball or curl up with a good book and drink coffee.

Colleges Attended:
Iowa State University...go Cyclones!
Currently at Drake University

Highest Degree Earned:
BA from ISU
Working on my Masters at Drake

PK-3 Regular Education/Special Education
PK-K Early Childhood Special Education

Years of Experience:
This is my 6th year teaching 3rd grade at Hillis. Before that I subbed for a year in the district.

Years at Hillis:
6 years

Original Hometown:
West Des Moines, Iowa

High School Attended:
Valley High School